Japan’s Abe says he will meet Iran’s Rouhani this month in NY

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe repeated his intention of speaking with Rouhani on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York. (File/AFP)
Updated 17 September 2019

Japan’s Abe says he will meet Iran’s Rouhani this month in NY

  • Abe added that he would travel to Belgium after the UNGA session
  • He is also meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker

TOKYO: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Tuesday he would meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the end of the month, as regional tensions rise in the Middle East after the weekend attacks on Saudi oil facilities, public broadcaster NHK said.
It was during a meeting with members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party that Abe repeated his intention of speaking with Rouhani on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, according to NHK.
Abe added that he would travel to Belgium after the UNGA session and meet with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, NHK said.


Indian government ends Internet blackout in restive Kashmir

Updated 25 January 2020

Indian government ends Internet blackout in restive Kashmir

  • Social media sites remain blocked, with only 301 government approved websites accessible
  • Indian- administered Kashmir’s 7 million inhabitants have been affected by web blackout since August last year

SRINAGAR: Indian authorities on Saturday restored Internet in Indian-administered Kashmir after a five-and-a half-month blackout but maintained a block on social media sites.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government imposed a communications blackout in early August when it stripped the portion of Kashmir it controls — the country’s only Muslim-majority region — of its partial autonomy.
India also imposed a curfew, sent in tens of thousands of extra troops and detained dozens of Kashmiri political leaders and others, many of whom remain in detention, drawing criticism abroad.
Internet access was restored Saturday but only to 301 government-approved websites that include international news publications and platforms such as Netflix and Amazon.
Mobile phone data access was also restored, although it was limited to slower second-generation (2G) connections.
“It’s good some Internet access has been restored but it’s so slow I’m hardly able to access anything and social media is also off-limits,” Raashid Ahmad, a university student, told AFP.
Azhar Hussain, a local businessman, also complained about the Internet speed being “painfully slow.”
India is the world leader in cutting Internet services, activists say, and access was also temporarily suspended in other parts of the country during recent protests against a new citizenship law.
Since August, freedom of movement in heavily-militarized Kashmir has been gradually restored as has cellphone coverage, but apart from at a handful of locations, there has been no regular Internet access.
This made life even harder for the region’s seven million inhabitants and hit the local economy hard.
Modi’s government said that the blackout was for security reasons, aimed at restricting the ability of armed militants — who it says are backed by arch-rival Pakistan — to communicate.
However, the Supreme Court criticized the government earlier this month for the move, calling it an “arbitrary exercise of power.”
The court also stated that having access to the Internet “is integral to an individual’s right to freedom of speech and expression.”
Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since independence in 1947, and has been the spark of two wars and numerous flare-ups between the two nuclear-armed foes.
A bloody insurgency against Indian rule that has raged in the scenic Himalayan region for decades has left tens of thousands dead, mostly civilians.